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The Glamorous Side Hustle of Gloria Richards: Nanning for the Super-Wealthy

When Gloria Richards isn’t acting on the Off-Broadway stage, she travels the world with the children of billionaires she’s never met.

Richards spends half of each year nannying for the ultra-wealthy to supplement her income between off-Broadway and one-woman shows in New York City and Virginia. The gig pays her $167 an hour, plus covered flights and accommodation, she says — which means babysitting for the billionaire accounts for 80% to 90% of her annual income.

“I can nanny for two months at the top of the year, and I’ll be fine for the rest of the year,” Richards, 34, told CNBC Make It. “The thing that feeds me is being able to work together with these kids.”

From salary to responsibilities, Richards’ job is unusual by most definitions. Nannying for the ultra-wealthy isn’t always about childcare: She spends most of her working hours coordinating the children’s educational and social calendars.

She says she is paid up to $2,000 a day for 12 to 15 hours of work. She travels the world on private jets and yachts, drives a Porsche and a Tesla at work, and attends kids’ birthdays where iPads are the party favors.

The glamor comes with an emotional tax: Richards often acts as a companion for neurodivergent kids with absentee and complicit parents, she says. And as a black woman helping to raise wealthy white children, she must deftly navigate cultural situations—or risk losing her paycheck.

Here’s how she makes it work.

on-the-job logistics

Some of Richards’ clients are famous actors whom she never formally meets. One of them was so constantly surrounded by security guards and makeup artists that she only caught glimpses of the tops of clients’ heads during her three months of employment, she says.

She’s seen other customers spontaneously buy homes on layovers and go for $3,200 a piece Steak. she adds. On her first day as a nanny for the ultra-wealthy, she showed up at an airport, introduced the family’s children and promptly became their chaperone on a private jet to a chartered resort in Barbados.

Richards, who usually works with about 10 families at a time, says it took her a while to understand just what her job responsibilities were. She doesn’t clean up spills, prepare meals or open car doors unless the family is short on staff.

Rather, she is a social coordinator and, often, an emotionally supportive mother. Once, the parents actually listed their child in an Italian boarding school under her last name, she says.

“I’ve had full blown interviews where [parents] She says, ‘We are looking for someone to raise our children.’ [and that] ‘I’ll hang out with them after boarding school when they can drink.'”

backed by contracts

Richards, who grew up one of eight siblings and landed her first professional acting role at age 14, says she came by being systematically nannyed.

When she moved to New York more than a decade ago, she worked in the childcare department of Reebok Sports Club, which was later acquired by Equinox. Some of the members were affluent families who started asking her to babysit.

She had no idea what to charge or how to secure a regular nanny job. Her research eventually led her to Madison Agency, a New York-based home staffing firm. Her willingness to travel and passion for working with neurodivergent children made her an attractive candidate, says Jackie Mann, Madison agency’s director of operations.

Mann says Richards also has the “extraordinary personality” needed to work with billionaires.

Sometimes, when Richards is overseas, employers will “blindfold” her by cutting her pay or her international phone plan, or “completely disregard” previously agreed upon work hours, she says.

Some of them don’t realize that if Richards isn’t paid immediately, Richards will miss paying the bill, she theorizes. Others may distrust their own employees because people have used them purely for their money before.

“I’ll be in like Switzerland, and they’re telling me they can’t pay me for three weeks because they don’t have the cash,” Richards says. “It’s also how they communicate when they don’t like something you’ve done. They’ll stop paying you.”

That’s when Madison agency support becomes essential, Richards says — making sure she gets her money on time, even after a client intentionally signed a false name on a check to avoid payment.

financial side, emotional side

Richards says balancing her mental well-being with unpredictable customer moods is tough. But after living in the world of billionaires for more than 10 years, she says she has sympathy for most of them.

Many of her clients were born into wealth and fame, and despite her efforts to be normal, they could not walk into grocery stores or commercial airports without being verbally and physically assaulted. That understanding, Mann says, is what makes Richards an invaluable employee.

“The ability to care for a child is not unusual,” says Mann. ,[But] The essential qualities of working for the super-wealthy are patience and a subtle perception of anticipating a person’s needs.”

When Richards first begins working with new clients, she slowly shares personal stories to build trust with parents and children. But even then, she still has to be cautious, she says.

She says, “I’ve seen families go through enormous grief in the public eye. I’ve seen them divorce or die within the family.” “Sometimes I’m literally a shoulder to cry on. A second later, they’ll turn on me.”

Racial dynamics can be muddled, she adds: “I’m a black woman, and there are times when I’m working for white families, and by the time the kids are six or seven, Until then they have very specific ideas.” About people who look like me.”

The money, the thrill of travel and the opportunities to help difficult kids are enough to keep Richards around, she says. She sets firm limits on how much and when she’s willing to work, and insists on smoothies and massages as a form of self-care when she’s off the clock.

“I have to be very careful that even though it’s an intimate setting, it’s still a work,” says Richards.

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